Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mayer on Drones

Some interesting snippets from Jane Mayer as she talks about the use of Predator drones in Pakistan:

Toward the end of the Bush Administration, the drone program in Pakistan ramped up, but when Obama became President, he accelerated it even faster. It’s surprising, but the Obama Administration has carried out as many unmanned drone strikes in its first ten months as the Bush Administration did in its final three years. It’s the favorite weapon of choice right now against Al Qaeda, and for good reason: It’s been effective in killing a lot of people the U.S. wants to see dead....

According to the C.I.A., they’ve killed more than half of the twenty most wanted Al Qaeda terrorist suspects. The bad news is that they’ve inflamed anti-American sentiment, because they’ve also killed hundreds of civilians....

Someone sitting at C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Virginia, can view and home in on a target on the other side of the world with tremendous precision, even at night, and destroy it. Peter Singer, who wrote a book on robotic warfare, said that cubicle warriors experience the same stress as regular warriors in a real war. Detached killing still takes a tremendous emotional toll inside our borders.

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